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The Situation Room

News/Business. Wolf Blitzer. Traditional reporting and online resources update international news. New.

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Us 41, U.s. 32, Algeria 28, Obama 12, America 12, Washington 12, Cnn 11, Faa 11, Boeing 9, Manti Te 7, Libya 7, Lincoln Bible 6, Fbi 6, Texas 6, Mali 6, Wolf Blitzer 5, Manti 5, Marcus 5, Chris Lawrence 5, Jack 4,
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  CNN    The Situation Room    News/Business. Wolf Blitzer. Traditional reporting  
   and online resources update international news. New.  

    January 17, 2013
    1:00 - 4:00pm PST  

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a cover letter? guess what, this comes from a 22-year-old matthew ross, sent a brutally honest cover letter. he said i won't waste your time inflating my credentials, throwing around exaggerated job titles or feeding a line of crap about how my past experiences and skill set align perfectly for an investment banking internship. the truth is, i have no unbelievably special skills or but i have a near perfect gpa and will work hard for you. some wall street bigwigs praised this letter and it's the extraordinary things that land you a job and a lot of companies are trying to hire the young mr. ross. all day long here we've been focusing on the psychology of
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why we cheat and not entirely unrelated to cheating you have former governor mark sanford sitting down with piers morgan tonight. he's just announced he's running for congress. don't miss it tonight. that's it for me. be back here at the same time tomorrow. i'm brooke baldwin. let's go to wolf blitzer in "the situation room." >> breaking news the fate of american captives in an engineer yeah clouded in chaos. an operation to free the foreign hostages has reportedly ended amid word that some were forced to wear explosive vests. a star football player says he's the victim of a sick joke but some taken in by the joke say manti te'o has some explaining to do about his dead girlfriend who never existed. and president obama will take the oath of office on the same bible that abraham lincoln
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used. we'll give you a close look at this extraordinary piece of american history. i'm wolf blitzer. you're in "the situation room." let's begin this hour with the breaking news. algeria's official news agency has just announced the end of a rescue operation aimed at freeing hostages including americans held by islamic militants. u.s. government officials tell cnn that may not necessarily, though be the case. let's get straight to our pentagon correspondent chris lawrence working this story for us. chris, be what is the very latest that you're hearing? >> wolf, the latest that we're getting from u.s. officials is that some americans may have escaped but some may still be held by those hostage takers and
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they are still seeing signs perhaps of some intermittent fighting suggesting that perhaps this isn't over yet. as the hostage situation stretched to a second day, u.s. officials scrambled to find a resolution and determine the state of the americans still in militant hands. >> this incident will be resolved, we hope with a minimum loss of life. but when you deal with these relentless terrorists, life is not in any way precious to them. >> americans and other western workers were on as about when multiple militants attacked. the militants took hostage at this gas plant heavily armed with rocket grenades and forced some hostages to wear explosive vests. the militants may have tried to move their hostages. >> with the intention of leaving
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for a neighboring country, they would use the hostages as a means of blackmail with a criminal intent. >> some hostages escaped, others were killed or wounded or unaccounted for. >> translator: there were a number of dead and injured. we don't have a final figure. >> but why did the algerians go in when they did? former homeland security adviser fran townsend said the u.s. would typically try to use surveillance and map the area in detail before launching a military assault. >> the western way is to collect as much intelligence as you can to engage in a potential negotiation to see if you can peacefully resolve it without putting the hostages at risk. >> but the algerians have fought a long, bloody battle with militants for years. >> they have little patience for
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terrorists and kidnappers of this kind and are going to want to nip it in the bud and a show of strength that this is not going to be tolerated. >> british prime minister david cameron suggested that the british and his government would have liked to have been consulted before this assault by the algerian forces and indicated that the british were only told after the assault had already begun. as to the hostages here's what we know. an irish hostage has been freed. his family has been talking and the irish government has confirmed that. the algerian forces say they helped free two british hostages, a frenchman, and a kenyan but the ultimate fate of those americans, wolf, we're still trying to determine. >> do officials at the pentagon or elsewhere offering assessment about algeria special operations capabilities and undertaking a mission like this? >> wolf, the algerians have been in a belong bloody battle and
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they have a good relationship with the algerians with the head of africa command carter ham had been to algeria a number of times and incapable because of all of the interactions and fights that they had with the militants but, again, u.s. forces would have taken in the same situation but the u.s. forces had to respect the fact that this happened on algerian soil. they ultimately make the call. >> right near the libyan boshder. we don't know how close to the libyan border that proximity may have created for these terrorists to undertake an operation like this. chris lawrence at the pentagon i know this is a fast moving story. you'll update us with information as it comes in. meanwhile, jaws dropped across the country when people learned the heartbreaking and well publicized death of a college football star's girlfriend. they learned that it never
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happened, that the girlfriend never even existed. notre dame's manti te'o says he was the victim of a sick joke but as more details new emerge about this hoax more questions are now being asked. cnn's ted rowlands is joining us from notre dame's campus. what is the latest, ted, that you're getting? >> reporter: well, wolf, frankly, there was a lot of anticipation that manti te'o would break his silence and go public with his side of the story today. however, as far as we have heard now, he has said nothing. this twitter photo is manti te'o at the img academy where he is training for the nfl draft and likely also taking refuge. pressure continues to mount for te'o to explain the inconsistencies between the very public death of his fake girlfriend and the statement that he never actually met her. during the football season, the
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story of this linebacker enduring the death of his girlfriend and grandmother on the same day transcended sports. people from around the world were touched by how in love te'o seemed to be with lennay kekua, the girl he called his soulmate. >> i cried. i yelled. never felt that way before. this is six hours ago i just found out my grandma passed away and you take, you know, the love of my life. >> reporter: on the day of his girlfriend's supposed funeral, te'o played football and after the game brian kelly actually awarded the game ball to the girl we now know doesn't exist. >> i want to award this game ball to lennay. and i'd like manti to have this ball to take back to hawaii. >> i am as confused as i think a lot of people are right now. >> reporter: sports reporter eric hansen has spent the last four years writing about manti
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te'o. in october, he wrote this article detailing the couple's first meeting after a football game against stanford. >> i would think if there was a mistake in the story they would have brought it to my attention. >> reporter: the story has romantic details of te'o and his fictitious girlfriend catching his eye and making a connection. hansen says he got the story from te'o's father. he still has a recording of the interview. >> maybe manti, you know, being in an online relationship was a little embarrassed and embellished the story to his father a little bit and his father was telling what manti had told him. >> reporter: he allowed us to listen to the recording but won't allow us to broadcast it. clearly, his father thinks his son met the girl friend in 2009 and spent considerable time with her after that. >> i want to give them the benefit of the doubt at this point and i want to hear from them before i form the last
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picture on this. >> reporter: wolf espn tweeted that they were about ready to sit down for an interview with manti te'o. then a few hours later he tweeted that the interview had been canceled. a lot of questions still from manti te'o when and if he decides to come public. >> even as we speak they are sticking by manti te'o, is that right? >> reporter: absolutely. the athletic director here said he sat down with him for an hour and a half in one session and another hour the next day. he said after listening to this young man he absolutely believes that he was nothing more than a victim. >> what a story. much more coming up in "the situation room." ted, thank you. a day after president obama announced his gun proposals the lines are drawn. vice president biden says he's under no illusions of what is going on. he met with many of america's mayors and made a very emotional call for action. athena jones is joining us from
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the white house. looks like a start of a major campaign to get gun control legislation through congress, athena. >> reporter: exactly. it's a major campaign and vice president biden's speech before those mayors is to win public support for the gun proposals. leading that task force to come up with some of the proposals that he talked about yesterday and so it's really no surprise to see him out pushing this again today. let's listen to a little bit about what he had to say to the mayors. >> if we speak for those we lost, we speak for our children and our families, if we have the courage to do what we know is the right thing to do then we'll have the most powerful voice. and we you, our citizens will change the nation. i've been in this fight a long time. i have no illusions about the fight that is in front of us.
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i have no illusions about the distortions that will come from all sides. but i know full well the political obstacles that will be thrown up against us are not unpenetrate table. >> reporter: vice president biden was highlighting something that the president himself brought up. he can take executive action on some of these, like requiring federal agencies to provide more information for background checks but he's going to need congressional things for things like banning high-capacity magazines or putting new restrictions on semiautomatic weapons. we know there is a lot of resistance, certainly from republicans in congress so far. and so part of this effort to try to win support in congress to get support on capitol hill, the white house is reaching out to supporters saying that they should speak out to the representatives about guns and the old campaign obama for america is going to kick off as well. jim mess seen na is already
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e-mailing reporters asking can them to stand by him in this political fight. wolf? >> athena jones, thank you very much. much more on this story also coming up. so how do you ban a weapon that may not even have a clear-cut name or definition? we're taking a closer look at the confusion surrounding some of these gun control proposals and what tone will the president take in his second term inaugural address? we're going to hear from two former white house speechwriters. stand by. stress sweat. it can happen any time, to anyone! stress sweat is different
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when it comes to the president's plan for controlling gun violence, the devil's in the definitions. aside from all of the political
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obstacles, how do you go about banning a weapon that may not have a clear-cut name? joe johns has been looking into this part of the story for us. it's getting a little complicated. so explain what you're finding out, joe. >> wolf, it's being called the biggest push in a generation on gun control but a lot of the ideas the president put forth yesterday has been kicked around since the 1990s and frankly in a lot of ways it's not clear what the white house wants to do and how they want to do it. the president's gun safety proposals sound ambitious but policywise it's difficult to assess without more details, starting with this. >> restore a ban on military-style assault weapons and a ten-round limit for magazines. >> which would be illegal is impossible to know until the white house defines assault weapon. when a ban passed in 1994 it came down to what it looked
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like. for example, do they have folding or telescoping stocks and grips and so on. officials admit it was far from perfect. >> it was hard to enforce it. as a result many people did that and, you know he have vaded the law. >> will only manufacturers be banned from making them or will the distribution and ownership also be banned? then there's this. >> require a universal background check for anyone trying to buy a gun. >> it may be politically doable but problematic from a policy standpoint. right now about two dozen states don't contribute to the federal background check program on a regular basis and expanding to all private sales is a huge challenge, even if the government sets up an online application. >> to try and regulate that
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portion over the internet could be extremely difficult and complicated at best. >> another can of worms is preventing the mentally ill from buying guns. right now a court or a judge has to rule that a person is mentally defective before it's reported to the background check system. the question is, whether a lot of people with serious issues who shouldn't qualify are still able to get guns. >> many people do not go through the core process for any type of process for seeking mental health treatment or resources. now you are relying on them to answer that question and they could tell you the truth or not tell you the truth. >> but changing the criteria could have unintended consequences like discouraging people from getting treatment. >> we want to make sure people who need help don't get treatment but also block them from getting the services they need for mental health. >> the president talked about only the tip of this iceberg. >> we will make sure mental health professionals know their options for reporting threats of
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violence. >> senior administration officials told reporters they don't plan to go after existing guns and magazines, meaning anything owned before a ban is put in place would actually get grandfathered in. everything is subject to change once negotiations start with congress. dianne feinstein is expected to be introduced as early as next week. wolf? >> we'll see what happens in the senate, if it gets through the senate, and then what happens in the house. thanks very much, joe for that. let's see what happens next in the administration's push to crack down on violence. gloria it looks like it's almost a political campaign emerging on both sides. for example, jim messina, in charge of the obama re-election campaign puts out a letter, among other things, saying take a look at the president's plan to reduce gun violence and stand with him in support. wayne lapierre executive vice
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president of the nra issues a fundraising letter saying this. i warned you this day was coming and now it's here. it's not about protecting your children. it's not about stopping crime. it's about banning your guns period. so what are we seeing here? a real political campaign. >> on the one side you have the grassroots organization that the obama for america team use. now, they can't coordinate with the white house, wolf, on this, but they are using all of their apparatus to get out their grass root supporters because what they are trying to do is mobilize voters in much the same way that the nra has done over the years, which is make people who are for some kind of gun regulation, single issue voters and come out and pressure members of congress who may be wavering in gun states and say to them, you know, we want something done. on the other side is the nra which has a huge grassroots
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organization. they are trying to mobilize their own voters. you saw that e-mail. we spoke yesterday about this provocative ad talking about the president's children are protected by people who bear arms. so you can be sure that the nra is going to continue to be just as aggressive as the obama supporters on all of this. >> you know, the reaction from republicans to what the president did yesterday, signing 23 executive orders if you will has been very intense. rick perry, the republican governor of texas saying this. the second amendment to the constitution is a basic right of free people and cannot nor will it be abridged by the executive power of this or any other president. at least so far, we're not seeing a whole lot of opportunity for real substantive negotiations. >> no. and, of course, rick perry is a governor that once suggested
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that texas secede from the union and ran for the presidency himself. wolf whark we're hearing is a lot of second amendment talk the president want to take away your guns. there's also talk among republicans that an assault weapons ban will not be effective, that it would not have solved the are problem, for example n. newtown. so there's talk of taking that off the table. where there does seem to be some kind of coalescing is closing the gun show loophole, making universal background checks required for gun owners. if i had to guess, i would say that is the one area that you could see people come together on. >> when i interviewed david keene, the president of the nra dint see him show any flexibility on that specific issue. >> no. because right now, wolf there is absolutely no meeting of the minds. these are these two bohemisis steaking out their positions and
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there's no reason to compromise until the end of the process. >> the president and vice president have work to do with fellow democrats. >> they do. you look at harry reid from nevada, it's clear he's not going to take the lead on this in the senate. he will leave that to his chief lieutenant. today we had pat leahy come out and he said quote we will pass what we can get. that doesn't mean -- that sure doesn't sound to me like he believes the president's entire package is going to get through. there are also senators democrats up for re-election in gun states like montana louisiana, south dakota. so those are real issues for the president because, of course, they want to keep control of the senate and also there are western senators who are going to be looking for some middle ground. >> see, the key words, middle ground. >> if there is any. >> gloria, thank you.
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the fbi's director's wheel is up after a secret visit to libya. lisa sylvester is monitoring that and other stories. what is going on? >> wolf, cnn has learned that fbi director robert mull letter has left tripoli. he traveled there and he did not visit the compound where u.s.
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ambassador chris sister stevens and three others were killed. lance armstrong's fall from grace is not over yet. the ioc has stripped the champion of the bronze medal he won at the 2000 olympic games in sydney australia. this is ahead of word that he will be expected to admit to using performance enhancing drugs. and american airlines has its first facelift in more than 40 years. the carrier unveiled a new red, white, and blue logo in an updated eagle motive. it is trading its polished exterior for a new red white and blue paint job. the new look will stay. have you ever wanted a little cash from the atm but you couldn't get it because it only had big bills?
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machines that pay to the dollar are popping up around the country. chase rolled out up to 400 of these machines dispensing denominations as low as 1s and 5s over the past 18 months and pnc has switched out thousands of its atms and plans for all of the atms nationwide to be spitting out these smaller bills by the end of the summer. if you want $7, you can have $7. you don't have to have $20. that's the future. that's the way it's going, wolf. >> much more convenient for a lot of people. >> yes. >> but you still have to watch those fees. fewer than four days the president of the united states will deliver his second inaugural address. two of washington's former top speechwriters are here in "the situation room" with some advice. paul begala and david frum are coming up.
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i'm wolf blitzer. here are some of the stories we're working on for our next hour behind the hoax. we're digging into the man who reportedly made up manti te'o's girlfriend. also, the dreamliner grounded around the world. and one of the key causes of the trouble may end up on other planes as well. also, a close look at the man some say will be the second most powerful person in washington. the new white house chief of staff. stand by. you're in "the situation room." next monday president obama will speak to the american people and to the world in his second inauguration speech. but after four very challenging years in office what tone
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should the president strike this time around? joining us now democratic strategist paul begala and david frum, a former white house speechwriter for george h.w. bush. also author of "why romney lost." doing very well. here's what the white house press secretary said today about the president's speech preparation. let me play the clip from jay carney. >> all i can tell you is the president in general when he works on a speech writes them long hand on a yellow pad and i've seen some yellow pads filled with writing of late around but i don't have any more details on the speech. >> both of you are former speechwriters. paul, you wrote this on the daily beast. president obama's task is much like the couple renewing their
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wedding vows after decades of tough but rewarding marriage. if the words are too ideal list, they will seem hollow or saccharine. if too shallow, why even bother? take us inside those words. >> tough task. this president loves an olympian detachment and there's a lot of good in that. we need a president to think of the big picture the only person who is supposed to be thinking for 100, 150 years where we need to be. at the same time, he's a participant in what is a small, petty political in this decade. if all he does is wine and complain that doesn't do us -- if he's too high -- he's one of the best writers and as good of a time that we've ever seen. >> advice for important speech like this? >> know exactly what you're
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going to say and don't say anything else. the second inaugurals are tough and for two reasons. the first is that if you become president, unless you do it in the harry trumman way where you find yourself losted into office, you've probably been thinking about your inaugural address for at least a year, maybe your whole life. the second not such a big wind up. presidents have enormous staffs. and the bigger the staff, well as they say, when you listen to a really bad speech no individual could have written so bad a speech. that took a team of highly trained professionals. >> should he speak in specific details, go into specific policy issues save that for a state of a union address? just speaking lofty words in a second inaugral? >> more the grand notions and values. his first inaugural was quite a good speech. no details, nor should he he.
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in a few weeks he'll give the state of the union address which is meaty, policy detail. this is much more, i think, spiritual. the very difficult thing is what david said. having that one central thing. i have not been talking to obviously the president about his speech but i do think he'll want to make an appeal to unity. it's a very difficult thing when the reality is we are bitterly divided and we will be every day for the next four years while he's leading us. >> i've been going through the history preparing for monday, looking at some old second term inaugurals. there are only a few lines if we think about it that have really jumped out and stayed with us all these years later. >> you will always have in mind abraham lincoln's. mostly, they disappoint and they disappoint for the reasons i've given. i would urge avoid rhetoric for
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its own sake. avoid the tendency to soar and loft. >> did something jump out at you? >> the president set down some very bold markers about advancing democracy. he was immediately tested by one of america's most important undemocratic allies, egypt, which almost within days of the second innal gral put in jail the leading opponent, mubarak. it was a much more embarrassing than it would have have been in the absence of such a vaulting speech. >> you worked for clinton in the white house. his second inaugural, anything jump out at you? >> president clinton very much wanted to be a healer. in fact, he had his hand on the bible opened to the passage of
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the prophet and finished that inaugral address and within a couple of years the republicans impeached him. his highest goal was to try to unify the country and that didn't work. that's just the times we live in. the president has to accept that and to manipulate that to the goals that he needs because he's not going to be able to change it. >> i hope the chief justice brings a note ward with the words this time around. you remember four years ago. >> he looked more nervous than president obama. >> he was nervous. that was an awkward moment, as we say. let's talk for a brief moment on joe biden. he's playing an increasingly more visible role. what does that say to you long term? >> it's very hard for me to imagine joe biden as a 2016 candidate. i find it hard to imagine.
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the country will be ready for something new. >> if you turn your head side ways and close one eye, it kind of looks like the seal for the vice president that says president of the united states. everybody in washington but certainly every senator and vice presidencies himself as vice president. this vice president, the task for in the middle class, implementation of the recovery act and now within the last few weeks the deal on the fiscal cliff and gun violence, gun safety, this president has entrusted him with enormous responsibility and i think frankly the vice president has proven himself. >> i think when you do those high profile, it's like working at a nuclear plant that measures how much radiation you've absorbed. when you've done enough of that task force, you're radioactive, too. >> the president has really relied on his vice president. they work very well together. we'll see what happens over the next four years.
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guys, thanks very much. so where are the american hostages and who are the hostage takers? we're going to hear from an expert on the islamic militants who are now posing a very serious threat across all of north africa. let's go. ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ [ male announcer ] introducing the all-new cadillac xts... another big night on the town eh? ...and the return of life lived large. ♪ ♪
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let's get back to the breaking news. our top story the american hostages being held in north africa. algeria state-run news service says a raid to free foreign hostages near the syrian border is over. they used tank to free the captives including americans, but their fate is still a mystery. andrew studies and writes about islamic militants. he's joining us from dakar in
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senegal. andrew, thanks for coming in. give us an explanation about these terrorists in algeria right now. what exactly is their connection to al qaeda? >> well these terrorists were operating under a man named mokhtar belmokhtar. he was part of al qaeda and the islamic maghreb which formally merged with al qaeda in 2006 and took the new name in 2007. he was reportedly stripped of his command by aqim, though i think the circumstances are probably a bit more complex than that and he's still been operating in northern mali and now, of course, back in algeria. >> and he's a one-eyed algerian terrorist and he's got a group,
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among other things, called the brigade of the masked ones. mokhtar belmokhtar. does he take orders from the number one leader of al qaeda, zawihiri, or are they independently inspired by al qaeda? >> well aqim and belmokhtar in particular has been very careful in public statements before and in interviews to pay hom marriage to al qaeda and be clear that he takes his orders from al qaeda central. the extent to which he does or doesn't is not as clear but he does make a very careful point of establishing that he is part of the broader al qaeda network. and he's -- >> is he -- >> go ahead. >> he's claimed to have contact
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with al qaeda leadership going back decades. again, these can't be confirmed but it is a part of his own personal story. >> this hostage takeover took place right near the libyan border. what's the libyan connection in this event that' going on? >> i think it's too early to tell. they said that they originally came from northern mali so it's possible that they took a route toll get to -- to get to the side of the attack. the other reports indicated that the hostage takers had algerian and libyan accents. again, that's not necessarily determinative but the attackers themselves said that they started in northern mali. >> i want you to listen to what the secretary of state and white house press secretary said about this today. listen to this. >> because of the fluidity and the fact that there is a lot of planning going on i cannot give
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you any further details at this time. >> we don't have at this point more details to provide to you. we're certainly concerned about loss of life and are seeking clarity from the government of algeria. >> so what, if any, indication does this give you? what hints do you get from these kinds of public statements from u.s. officials? >> obviously those kinds of statements are quite vague. they are waiting -- i think they are waiting for some sort of official statement from the algerian government. the government has not given full casualty numbers yet. they have only alluded to some hostages saved and some deaths among hostages and attackers. news reports have indicated various numbers throughout the afternoon. i think we're going to have to just wait and see what the final casualty numbers are. >> we just got a statement in from bp, which was operating together with some local
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affiliates that facility, the oil/gas facility in eastern algeria and they have chartered a plane carrying bp employees from algeria expected to land in the uk around midnight local time. bp would not confirm whether the employees include those who were at this facility, at this gas field. so apparently they are taking their people out. it's a very dangerous situation i assume. you've studied this for a long time. i was surprised to hear that there were these bp employees there in that volatile situation but you know a lot more about this than i do. >> well, there are large multinational corporations and gas corporations that work in southern algeria in conjunction with the algerian national energy company. so that is not surprising. what was surprising about this attack was the choice of target. aqim has targeted energy workers
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before most notably in 2010 when another aqim commander kidnapped seven employees of the -- of a subcontractor of the french nuclear firm and this was surprising given the level of security that is generally present at oil and gas sites in algeria. >> andrew joining us from senegal at the new america foundation, an expert on this subject. we'll check back with you. thank you very much for that information. and for the first time since the aurora massacre in colorado, the actual theater where it happened is now reopening, but not everyone is happy about it. at a dry cleaner we replaced people with a machine. what? customers didn't like it. so why do banks do it? hello?
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six months after a gunman opened fire at an aurora, colorado movie theater, the doors reopened today. jim spellman is joining us now from colorado. jim, how are the families of the victims responding to the reopening of the theater? >> reporter: it's been a mixed response wolf. a large group of the family members have gotten together and they decided they are going to boycott the reopening ceremonies and also boycott the theater change altogether. they say that they are just out to make money and being callous and not looking out for the interests of the family members. a lot of people would like to see this movie theater torn down. jessica's cousin was murded in the theater. >> never once have offered their
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con condolences or sympathies and have truly shown their true colors that they are only in it for the money. >> reporter: they say if there was a memorial here or something like that, it would be more appropriate but to just reopen a commercial enterprise on the ground where their loved one was killed is too much. we know that other family members will come. they say that they need to move on with their lives. they can't let something like this dominate them. with this larger group of victims and families, it's doubtful that they will ever get complete consensus. wolf in. >> i understand the psychiatry who treated jam holmes may be facing a lawsuit. what's going on with this front? >> reporter: yeah, we're approaching a six-month filing deadline for people who want to file suit against the university and psychiatrist, dr. lynn fenton. 14 people have filed suit.
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we could see hundreds or dozens more. they all say that she was negligent in treating him and not bringing him forward to the police. it would be interesting to see what happens with those lawsuits. there could be hundreds of them facing the psychiatrist and the university, wolf. >> jim spellman, thanks. five foreign hostages have been released from an algeria we're going to hear from the son response nl for one of them. also, the history of one of the two bibles that president obama will use at his swearing in on monday. >> this was the actual bible that president obama used in 2009? >> that's correct. >> and the same bible -- >> that abraham lincoln walked up to and put his hand on and sweared in with in 1861. to be the world's best sport sedan... ♪ ♪ ...people noticed. ♪ ♪
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here's a look at a special edition of inauguration prep hot shots. check it out. in front of the u.s. capitol building flags are hung as the venue is prepared. at a souvenir shop inauguration pins and swag selling like hotcakes. in front of the white house, the viewing stand is assembled for the inauguration day parade. and the committee gift shop
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yes, gift shop, commemorative water bottles are sold for a whopping $30. hot shots, pictures coming in from washington, d.c. it's the key part of every u.s. president's swearing in. lisa sylvester has been looking at the bible president obama will be using this time around and lisa is joining us. share some details, lisa? >> wolf, this is something i did not know. the library of congress has 1500 bibles and one of those bibles will be used. the lincoln bible. so much history in this small box. >> i was thinking this big bible but it's actually pretty tiny. >> the monumental mentality of the moment has been confused with the size of the bible. it's a small family bible. >> 150 years ago, the president
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who freed the slave abraham lincoln, put his hand on this bible and swore to uphold the constitution. >> these are objects that seem to store the energy of a moment and they are physical objects that have traveled through time and culture to us. >> mark is the chief of the rare books collection at the u.s. library of congress. lincoln's inauguration day, march 4th, 1861. >> there's this incredible moment where lincoln walking out on stage and gives this magnificent inaugural address and uses this bible to swear in in a moment when the country is so divided. >> a country so politically torn and on the verge of war, lincoln had to be mug geled in because of assassination threats. lincoln didn't have his family bible with him so he borrowed one from lincoln thomas carol, a seal and a test that it was used at the lincoln inauguration.
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the man administering the oath was chief justice taun knee. >> you can imagine that the tension was palpable between the two of them. taun knee was the justice that cast the deciding vote that put through the dread scott decision in essence, pushing it forward for many years. >> but change did come. >> congratulations, mr. president. >> america's first black president used the lincoln bible in 2009. president obama has again chosen the lincoln bible as one of those he will use to take the oath of office for his second inauguration. >> in is the actual bible that president obama used in 2009? >> that's correct. >> and the same bible -- >> that abraham lincoln walked up to and put his hand on to swear in in 1861. >> it's kind of neat the sense of history doesn't it? >> it has an electricity to it.
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it really does carry the meaning of the moment. >> the moment repeated on monday when president obama places his hand on this small bible that carries more than its weight of history. now, president obama will actually use three different bibles as part of the inauguration events. on sunday for the official swearing in, he will use the robinson family bible. on monday then for the public inauguration, he will use the lincoln bible that you just saw and martin luther king jr.'s traveling bible. the man responsible for freeing the slaves who fought for the rights of african-americans is being used for the country's first black president. >> lisa thank you. the second inaugural spans two days. first, the official oath of office at a private ceremony on sunday over at the white house and then monday's the public ceremony at the u.s. capitol. it all starts at 9:00 a.m. eastern on both days.
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and you're in "the situation room." happening now, breaking news. the military option to free hostages is now over. but where are the americans held captive? bizarre details emerging in the mysterious hoax surrounding a popular football star. just ahead, what we're learning about at least one person believed to be involved. >> and boeing dreamliner flights worldwide. they are now grounded for the first time since a deadly plane crash more than 30 years ago. this is going on with one airliner. why it may all come down to one key component. batteries. we want to welcome our viewers in the united states and around the world. i'm wolf blitzer. you're in "the situation room."
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we begin with the breaking news. the military operation to free hostages seized in an attack at a gas facility in algeria is now over but the fate of the americans being held remains unknown. any minute now we're expecting a statement from bp. we know the company has chartered a plane carrying bp employees out of algeria but bp isn't confirming whether those employees include those at the plant in eastern algeria. let's go straight to our foreign affair correspondent jill dougherty at the state department with more information. what else are you learning, jill? >> this is moving very fast and a lot of these numbers are changing but we do understand that there is a plane that is taking five freed hostages to london and also president obama has been on the phone with the british prime minister and kind
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of an ominous statement coming from the british foreign officer, wolf, saying that some bad -- even though this is over, some bad and distressing news could follow. so obviously some people have been killed. some people have been rescued. but the numbers are really all over the map at this point. here at the state department, secretary clinton has been speaking with the prime minister of algeria. she came out and spoke with reporters, talking about a very fluid situation. let's listen to what she said. >> this incident will be resolved with a minimum loss of life. but when you deal with these relentle terrorists, life is not in any way precious to them. but when this incident is finally over, we know we face a continuing ongoing problem and we're going to do everything we
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can to work together. >> remember this is connected we believe with mali and concerning mali, the united states is helping the french in that operation, intelligence, they are providing intelligence, air lift, and also trainers for the african force supposed to be on the ground this weekend. wolf? >> what other steps is the state department taking right now to try to protect other americans in the region? >> you know they are putting out the word secretary clinton nrk fact ordered her staff to take a look at the strategic lay of the land in the region for american citizens and for american business. so they've been alerting them as they have been for quite some time that these terrorist groups
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could be expanding their efforts to take people hostage kidnap people, and so there's really a state of alert that they are putting out, that companies and americans in that region should be very very careful. be prepared. >> very careful indeed if they should be there at all. jill, thanks very much. let's go more now to the diplomatic that they have to play. tom fuentes is here in "the situation room." what's your sense of what is going on right now. >> it's going to be very murky and difficult to get details for several hours if not some time tomorrow probably. so you have a situation which obviously the algerians are in charge of but they would seek assistance from their trusted partners, which would include the french, since they were formally very close, actually
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occupied by the friend and also the united states is offering assistance, including the fbi because when we have americans captured or killed overseas that violates u.s. law, the fbi has jurisdiction to work with the host country government with our permission and partnership to try to solve that case and ensure the people that committed it are brought to justice. but in this case, there are so many difficulty in getting information because this plant was out in the middle of know where algerian government and some of the employees at the time and there are people who saw the attack or maybe on the other side of the plant that didn't see it. so you don't know who actually saw it what kind of information they had what the details are and especially if the algerians were taking the lead initially to try to free them. we don't know the details of
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that. >> you opened the fbi office in algeria. was there then, i assume now in 2007 i met and met with the u.s. ambassador and algerian authorities and whippere were responding to their invitation in al engineers to work for closely. back during the iraq war we were fighting a jihadi pipeline from iraq to tunisia, libya up through iraq where they went to terrorism school and made ieds and then would go back to their original countries.
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then, of course, and what you have is weaponry from all over the world pouring in to assist them in their effort to overthrow the dictator. well, the war is over they win. the new government goes in that is not used to governing, does not have the skill set and is faced with the population that is armed to the treat and has 18 months of on the job training of not just shooting machine guns and rpgs but mortars. that was one of the concerns of the fbi. >> and all of those borders in north africa from egypt, libya, tunisia, algeria, they are pretty porous. hold on for one moment. all right. we're getting some new information in. the united states is now increasing its role in the mali conflict in africa. our pentagon correspondent chris lawrence is getting new information. what are you learning chris?
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>> we are now learning that the u.s. has agreed to help the french air lift more troops, more supplies, more heavy equipment into mali for their offensive against the militants there. this had been under consideration yesterday. today that request was accepted and now i'm told by defense officials that military planners are in deep discussion with the french to go over specifically what they are going to bring in and where they are going to bring it. one defense official that i spoke with said that it could be the equivalent of the entire mek mek cannized battalion and might take up to 30 flights to get all of that in there for the french. in the end rkt the french would reinvert the u.s. for the cost of those cargo flights. there was a separate request for some u.s. surveillance as well as refueling and u.s. planes could pull up to the french
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jets, refuel them in the air, that's another request that's still under consideration but that part has not been decided, wolf. >> that's stepping up the military role in mali. that's a significant is headline. let me bring tom fuentes back in. are you surprised that france is helping deal with this crisis in mali? >> i'm not surprised to not let the al qaeda affiliates in mali and other countries become more powerful, to gain a foothold in those countries. we're under a lot of pressure. you hear from our own political leaders advocating that the u.s. get involved and do something strong. the other consideration, though, is that it does play into some of these political aims of the islamic groups to say, here, look, here is the u.s. looking for a way to get in our country or region and exert their power. so there is a little bit of difficulty. you have the french trying to establish a coalition and get
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assistance from countries much like the u.s. wanted assistance in the original gulf war and then also in the iraq and afghanistan to say that this is not a unilateral action on the part of one country but a coalition. >> hold on for a moment. paul kruk shake is joining us right now. what do you make of the latest information we're getting, paul, coming out of algeria where these americans and others? a lot of europeans were being held hostage. we don't know the fate of those who were held. we know that the algerian military has completed some sort of rescue operation. we don't know if they are dead or alive in the process of that so-called rescue operation. >> well, wolf there seems to be a significant death toll, a lot of hostages seem to have been killed and this is the most significant hostage taking event since 2008 in mum buy that we
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all covered a few years ago. so a very significant attack. it appears that these jihadists came across the border from libya into algeria to conduct this operation wolf. and we've been learning from some trusted sources that a number of jihadists training camps are present in the region in libya near to where this algerian gas facility is and these training camps are actually linked to mokhtar mokhtar belmokhtar, the commander who masterminded this attack. >> as tom fuentes was just explaining to us, paul, they were actually trained by al qaeda in iraq during the height of that war? >> absolutely. but not only trained by al qaeda in iraq they are being trained in other areas as well including southern libya,
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including northern mali. this terrorist is based to be based in northern mali. so different parts of the region where these training camps now are. it's a more complex threat in many ways than ever before wolf. >> a lot of us thought with the arab spring in north africa, these horrendous stories were history and it seems to be getting worse right now. what's going on? >> well, a number of these jihadist groups have taken advantage of the political turmoil to expand their safe havens in the region to boost the number of people who are joining their groups. we have seen that in libya where there really is a lot of political chaos in the country, where significant areas in the country which are not really under government control and so the militias in libya have really been able to establish
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quasi safe hafhavens in certain parts of the country and it's possible that they were able to launch this attack into algeria wolf. >> and once again we're standing by for a statement from bp where these hostages, including the americans were taken. paul cruickshank thank you. among those freed from a hostage, an irish man. a young son talked about his dad's release. >> i feel over the moon. just really he can cited. i just can't wait for him to get home. [ crying ] >> he's coming home? >> yes he's coming home. >> i just can't wait.
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i'll never let him go back there. >> and what's the first thing you'll do when you see him? >> give him a big hug. and i won't let go. >> can't blame that young boy for being so happy. his dad's getting out of algeria and the kid said he never wants his dad to go back there again. we're going to continue to watch this developing story out of algeria, bring you updates here in "the situation room" as soon as we get them. we're wondering what's going on with those hostages being held, the americans and the others. meanwhile, other news we're following, some very bizarre details emerging in the mysterious hoax surrounding a popular college football star. just ahead, what we're learning about at least one person believed to be involved. e "name your price" tool.
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the mysterious bizarre hoax involving manti te'o seems to be getting more difficult to piece together at the center of it all, the woman he called, quote, the love of my life who apparently never existed. her supposed death in september along with the death of his grandmother around that same time is what te'o said inspired to lead his team to victory in a critical game. he tweeted this about her. let me read it. i may not hear your voice anymore but i do feel your presence. according to notre dame, on september 6th te'o received a phone call from her number saying she wasn't dead. on december 26th he said to have
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notified the school of the situation. notre dame launched an investigation and yesterday deadspin.com published the story for the first time revealing the hoax. let's go straight to our own brian todd who has been digging deeper into what's going on. brian, you are getting more information? >> we are. deadspin named one man who they say is behind this. he is based in southern california. with our teams here in washington and los angeles and atlanta, we did get information on him but it's not clear at the moment if he knows manti te'o or not. it was a hoax made all the more believable by his hushed mournful interviews, like the one he gave espn. >> i cried. i yelled. never felt that way before. this is six hours ago i just found out my grandma passed away and you take, you know the love of my life. last thing she said to me was, i
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love you. >> but manti te'o's girlfriend lennay kekua who reportedly died of luke be keem yeah never existed. who perpetrated it? deadspin.com. pointing to a young man. cnn obtained a yearbook photo of him from 2008 when he was a senior in lancaster, california. deadspin, siting friends and relatives of his, says he created the girlfriend and spread the myth online. >> they told us that he has been doing this fake online profile for several years and that he's caught other people in its trap but that they caught on way earlier than manti te'o did. >> cnn cannot confirm his involvement. we went to his addresses for ronaiah tuiasosopo and caught up
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with his father. he wouldn't speak on camera but told us the truth will all come out, god knows our character. ronaiah's hundred kell who gave us these pictures of him as a child say that he is religious and plays at a band at his father's church. >> it's hard for me because i know the kid all his life and this is the first time i've heard something like this. >> dead spin said that they know each other. notre dame's athletic director was asked if they are cousins or family friends? >> their characterization does not square with my information but i'll let the te'os address it. >> tuiasosopo is a former player himself. he's got relatives who play college and pro football. i spoke on the phone with marcus
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can tuiasosopo. marcus said he's a distant cousin of ronaiah. he said he didn't want to tape an interview and can't say anything about this story, doesn't know ronaiah well but that he he and his family know the te'o family whochlt is depicted in the photos as the girlfriend? a woman we contacted whose name we're not airing realized her picture had been used for a fake facebook page for te'o's girlfriend. that woman told cnn she knows ronaiah tuiasosopo from church but is surprised that he's involved in this. >> and a current football player says he knewhe nonexistent girlfriend? >> yes. a fullback for the arizona cardinals told espn that she's a real person and that they became friends. we have tried to call -- we have
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called reagan and he has not returned our phone calls. >> strange indeed. a lot of people are talking about it. brian, thanks very much. much more on the bizarre story coming up, including a panel discussion on the media's role in this whole thing. that's just ahead. we'll continue to monitor also the other breaking news story we're following, a very fluid situation under way. americans being held hostage in algeria. there's a military maneuver under way. we'll update you. that and more coming up.
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dramatic step with the dreamliner aircraft. the move is so rare the faa hasn't done it in 30 years grounding the entire fleet of 787s. it's not even waiting for a safety review to be completed. we'll breakdown what all of this means for the dreamliner with miles o'brien who is standing by. but cnn's sandra endo reports, the issue comes down to one key component. batteries. >> reporter: wolf, safety concerns surroundingle 787 batteries canceled dreamliner flights around the world and disrupted travel plans for thousands of passengers and who knows how long boeing's plane of the future will remain out of the sky. grounded indefinitely. all 50 boeing dreamliners worldwide were parked on tarmacs thursday. this, after the faa ordered u.s. 787s to stop flying until there's proof their lithium ion batteries are safe. in terms of historical con text
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this doesn't happen that often? >> no it's not that often at all. >> reporter: the plane debued in 2011 after years of delay. the company is defending its aircraft saying we are confident the 787 is safe and we stand behind it's overall integrity. but two incidents involving the plane's batteries in ten days have left the faa with no choice but to ground the dreamliner while they analyze the charred evidence from last week's 787 fire. lithium batteries are smaller and more powerful but can over heat. >> when they are used normally and energy released slowly, as it's supposed to batteries have a very good safety record but if that same energy is released very rapidly, the battery cells will vent, release their content, and have the potential
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both for fire and explosion. >> reporter: boeing needed special faa approval to allow the dreamliner to use leet yes, ma'am batteries for key electrical systems. >> they have narrowed it down to the battery system on this aircraft. we've had two events and so therefore they are now going to be able to look at it more in detail and figure out what's going on. >> reporter: boeing's european rival airbus uses lithium bat he batteries in their emergency lighting. it relies on them more heavily. the company says there are no plans to change the electrical design. >> both regarding the batteries, the safety means. >> reporter: there are still 800 dreamliners on order and it's unclear at this point if these safety concerns will affect the purchases. each aircraft costs $200
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million. wolf? >> sandy endo what does all of this mean for the future of the dreamliner? miles o'brien is a pilot and correspondent on pbs and an old friend. is it safe to fly, you think, these dreamliners? did the faa do the right thing? zf well >> well, you know, it's better to error on the side of the caution. there's no dreamliners in the sky so whether it's safe or not doesn't matter to you or i. i guess by definition it's unsafe because the faa has taken this very unusual action of grounding a whole fleet of airplanes. this happened with a dc-10 in 1989 after killing everyone on board. that was a maintenance issue, but the dc-10 aircraft
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ultimately never recovered its reputation. >> if these batteries are overheating, would that be enough to actually bring down a plane? >> you bet. fire on an airplane is one of the scariest things you can imagine. we've seen a couple of crashes in recent years involving fires from airplanes. of course, you remember value jet outside of miami. you remember the swiss air crash off the coast of maine a few years ago and both of those cases fire was the root cause. when there's something burning on an airplane, you want to get it on the ground as quickly as possible. >> they have been testing this plane for many years. it was late in production. you would have thought that if there was a problem it would have come up a long time ago. >> well you know, there's some things you can do in testing and some things you're only going to find out by flying an aircraft. some of this could be related to the number of cycles, for example. in testing, you're not going to fly an airliner like you fly it on the lines, so to speak, with passengers, takeoffs, and
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landings charges and discharges of the batteries in this case. so maybe a problem is coming to light after a number of cycles, a number of uses. the fact is that the airplanes that are involved, japanese airplanes are the first to go into service. that could be one thing. another issue is what about the types of battery used? boeing switched the type of battery. is it a different batch? is it a different manufacturer? parts are made all over the world. it's part of a marketing strategy, frankly, to ensure that the 787 is purchased by airlines all over the world but it also is potentially fraught with peril as we saw in the development of the 787. it was slow to market because of that heavily outsourced idea. >> you probably know this and i was just told, these same lithium ion type batteries on the dreamliner are about to go
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on some airbus airliners as well. is the technology for these lithium ion batteries too risky right now? >> well, we know lithium ion batteries can get hot and burn. we've seen it in laptops. this is the first time we've seen lithium ion batteries used like this in airlines ever. so this is pushing technology. this is new and there's a lot of new things happening. boeing has relied heavily on batteries and electrical systems as a way of making the aircraft more efficient and lighter. it uses 20% less fuel and that has made it a very popular airplane as far as orders go. it's the most impressive initial orders batch of initial orders that boeing has ever had. but when you push a lot of technologies simultaneously, which is what is happening here with the 787, inevitably you're going to find things that aren't just exactly as you hoped they would be. >> what a nightmare for boeing, the manufacturer of this 787.
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miles, good engs pla nation. thank you very much for coming in. >> you're welcome, wolf. so why did it sake to long for the hoax surrounding manti te'o to come out? we're going to talk about the media's role in all of this. that's next. built the cadillac ats from the ground up to be the world's best sport sedan... ♪ ♪ ...people noticed. ♪ ♪ the all-new cadillac ats -- 2013 north american car of the year. ♪ ♪ for a limited time take advantage of this exceptional offer on the all-new cadillac ats. [ nurse ] i'm a hospice nurse. britta olsen is my patient. i spend long
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howard kurtz. also joining us the editor-in-chief of the dailydownload.com, lauren ashburn. there's a problem here because for months and month and months the media bought this story apparently without checking who this woman was. >> this was a feel good story even though it involved a death and it was false. a basic few phone calls would have found no record of her death or birth and no one wanted to make that minimal effort. >> it was a beautiful warm story that people just said, great, let's go with it. >> media, journalism 101, fail. as howie said, people didn't check the facts. especially when there had been previous accounts and you could go back and say, gosh, she died this day?
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no, she died here. all you had to look was at the evidence. and what's really critical here wolf, is that the twitter accounts and facebook accounts, had someone been reporting social media reporting -- >> deadspin eventually did. >> we would have figured this out a long time ago. >> somebody sent him an e-mail saying, you should take a look at this and it didn't take very long for them to figure out this woman who didn't exist. >> the reporter who wrote the story for sports illustrated, wolf, has a number of red flags. and he couldn't find the database search basic facts that existed and reporting on the story said -- >> let me read, lauren, a line or two from the article of sports ill straighted october 1st, 2012 te'o dated lennay
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lennay kekua 22, for nearly a year. two months after the accident as she began to recover from her injuries, doctors discovered that she had leukemia and sent her to a new hospital. her relatives told him that at her lower points, as she fought to emerge from a coma, her breathing rate would increase at the sound of his voice. now, that's pretty detailed stuff in there. >> it is. and there's a lot of detail excruciating detail. it seems to me that you would have to think that manti would have to be involved or know something about this. it just doesn't added a up. >> he's having all of these nighttime phone call conversations with a woman who he now knows doesn't exist and notre dame officials say on their own account they knew about this december 26th. they allowed other media accounts to go forward as notre dame went into the bowl game. that is shameful.
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>> a full investigation before they released the public information. they wanted to make sure that there was nothing he did that could be -- because they were standing completely behind this football star. >> it smells to me like notre dame was pro tikting its backside. >> but the bottom line in this is that we are all rushing to get things on the air, to get things into newspapers and i think that journalists rely a lot on what is already printed, what is already in and on the internet. and if it was vetted by new york sometimes or sports illustrated, it must be true. >> let me put this up on the screen. this is from writer. when i checked lexis nexis to find out more about lennay i couldn't find anything out about her and nor on her twin brother
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koa. i was unable to track down any obituaries or funeral services and that might be explained by the fact that she had three recent places she called home. >> he was rationalizing about the fact that sports illustrated published a coverage story. you didn't need a bob woodruff story here. basic reporting. >> he did check with stanford and they said we don't have any record. he took stanford out. >> he did. others didn't. it was a collective failure on the part of the media that liked this story and now everybody looks bad. >> he put out a statement, a written statement. we're waiting for him to go before cameras, either in an interview or news conference to explain what's going on. what do you think the bottom line is going to be? >> my gut on this, you look at all of the evidence and you look at how it's all presented all
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of the differences and in opinion and time and who she was and all of the twitter and -- >> yeah. >> it seems to me that there is something bigger going on here. >> to think that he was solely the victim of a hoax and maybe we'll find out differently but right now it is hard to give him the benefit of the doubt. >> guys, thanks very much for coming in. >> thank you. we're just getting this in. i want to be precise in what we're learning. we're learning that some americans have now been freed in algeria. others are still unaccounted for in the ongoing hostage situation in algeria. this according to our foreign affairs reporter elise labott. she is citing u.s. officials. they are not providing other details other than some americans who were taken hostage in algeria at this gas facility have been freed. we're going to get more
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information from elise, from chris lawrence at the pentagon, from all of our reporters. but that is good to know that at least some have been freed. we've also just heard from the president of bp in london addressing the overall situation in algeria. here's a clip. >> 100% on the safety and welfare of those people and their families and we're now beginning a staged and planned reduction of the nonessential workforce, temporary basis pulling them out of the country. >> earlier we learned that bp chartered a plane carrying its employees out of algeria but the company wouldn't confirm whether those employees include those at the specific plant that was attacked. meanwhile, another company involved statoil released this statement. the whole of statoil is strongly affected by the situation in amenas. the situation is still unresolved. uncertain and very serious.
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in an unresolved situation, it is important for us to be hands-on with those who are most affected. we'll stay on top of this story for you. get more information. we'll take a quick break. we'll be right back. transitions® lenses automatically filter just the right amount of light. so you see everything the way it's meant to be seen. maybe even a little better. visit your eyecare professional today to ask about our newest lenses, transitions vantage and transitions xtractive lenses. experience life well lit. ask which transitions adaptive lens is best for you.
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almost everything the presidencies and hears goes through his white house chief of staff. sources say president obama's about to name one of his most trusted advisers to that post. cnn's athena jones reports. >> dennis mcdonough has been a trusted adviser to president obama, counseling him on foreign advisory issues and later as deputy national adviser. he was in "the situation room" during the historic raid that killed osama bin laden. >> it was quite a team effort. >> now the president is poised to name mcdonough as chief of
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staff. it's a key role that requires the right fit as captured by the popular tv show, "the west wing". >> you've got a best friend? >> >> yez. >> would you trust him with your life? >> yes, sir. >> one of 11 children in what he's described as a catholic family. he's kept a low profile in the administration a man of integrity. former obama aide was chief domestic policy adviser. >> dennis traveled extensively with the president. when you spend day in and day out with someone in a high stakes, very stressful set of circumstances, you get to know them well. i think they think very similarly but at the same time they are very straightforward and honest with each other. dennis isn't afraid to challenge
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the president. >> barns said that while m mcdonough is known for his foreign policy shops, he will be able to handle the issues. and he knows how capitol hill works. something that will be crucial in the coming fiscal fights. now, the suspected announcement comes as the president is criticized for a lack of diversity among to have staffers. his choices for secretary of defense, secretary of defense, secretary of treasury and cia director are all men. wolf? >> athena jones at the white house with the latest on that, an important position indeed. thank you. monday's inauguration is a big day for president obama. historic day for the entire country. it's also a big day for some young iowans. when we come back practicing to march in the inaugural parade. from a mile away... while going shoeless and metal-free in seconds.
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for their lifetimes. we made a commitment to repay and we did and gave america a profit. pretty proud of that. helping people recover and rebuild -- that's what we do. now let's bring on tomorrow. hundreds of thousands of people are expected to come to washington, d.c. for president obama's second inauguration. most of them will be here to watch him be sworn in and to hear his inaugural address. but a lucky few are traveling a very long way to be part of the inaugural parade. cnn's emily schmidt is joining
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us right now. emily, there's one young group coming in from iowa. >> wolf you are exactly right. you know the presidential inaugural committee says more than 2,800 groups applied for the chance to be in this year's inaugural parade. so far, only 96 have earned an invitation. that manes only the top 3% are going to get to perform in front of president obama. and as you'll see getting the invitation is only the first step in getting to washington. in the first hours of barack obama's presidency these iowa kids gave marching orders even the new commander in chief couldn't resist. a cadence so catchy it swept up the first family. they met the isiserettes drum and drill core during the caucuses. four years later it's time for an encore. the isiserettes are coming back for monday's inaugural parade. >> this is like a pretty big opportunity to do this stuff. >> reporter: the 50 members who
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range in age from 7 to 18 are about to have a once in a lifetime experience again. >> to be able to do it a second time, that means that he understood us on a personal like way, and it's just, it's mesmerizing. >> reporter: it's 1,000 miles from des moines to the nation's capital. for this nonprofit group, the road looked much longer. what does it take to get from where you are to where i am? >> it's extremely difficult for us. >> reporter: cory williams leads the isiserettes. >> we don't have boosters. we basically have the state of iowa our community, our local churches, our family and friends. >> reporter: they've raised about two-thirds of the trip's $12,500 cost so far. the price tag would be four times greater almost insurmountable, without help from one of washington's most exclusive schools.
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>> they'll roll in here on saturday night and they'll set up camp in here and they'll have a ball. >> reporter: tom is sidwell friend's head of school. he met the isiserettes in 2009 and this year, he's making the gymnasium their weekend home. it saves about $50,000 in hotel costs and pays priceless dividends. >> it's a privilege for us to show hospitality to a group coming a long way and making the sacrifice to be part of this national event. >> reporter: the isiserettes say they feel like they'll be playing for friends on monday. >> we've always had that kind of kinship with the first family. we work hard. we're dedicated to what we do. and i think they recognize that in our kids. >> reporter: getting a second term off on a right foot, which can't help but move to the beat. >> the band's going to spend about 30 hours on the bus planning to arrive saturday evening, after the parade, then on monday, they get back on the bus for the return trip. it is more time traveling than they're going to spend in
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washington, but the isiserettes say, it's time well spent. >> they'll never forget this moment in their lives, to be sure. thanks very much for that. don't miss cnn's special coverage of the presidential inauguration sunday and monday mornings. our special coverage begins each day, sunday and monday, 9:00 a.m. eastern. lisa sylvester is monitoring some of the other top stories here in "the situation room" right now, including what a positive trend in the fight against cancer. what's going on? >> yeah wolf this is always good news to hear. the american cancer society says the death rate from cancer is down dramatically over the past two decades, thanks largely to a reduction in smoking. according to a new report the decline is is a whopping 20%. and stronger than expected data on new housing fueled a rally on wall street today. the dow jones industrial average closed up 84 points at 13,596 and that's near a five-year high. the s&p 500 did end at a five-year high at 1,480.
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the nasdaq posted healthy gains as well closing at 3136. and here's one way to get out for some fresh air. a thousand or so people in the florida everglades are hunting pythons for the 2013 python challenge this week. senator bill nelson initiated the effort to rid the everglades of the nonindigenous snakes which have damaged the delicate ecosystem and he joined the hate this day. that is not for the squeamish, not for those who don't like snakes. >> thanks very much for that. so was mantei taio's girlfriend what's known as a cat fish, a fake online persona created to deceive someone. we're digging deeper with the producer of mtv's "catfish." that's coming up.
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i'm wolf blitzer. you're in "the situation room." we're following breaking news right now in a very fast-changing story. a rescue raid in algeria ending the hostage crisis that began yesterday when islamic militants seized dozens of international gas field workers including americans. u.s. officials tell cnn some americans have been freed, but others are unaccounted for. a plane carrying some of them expected to arrive in britain very soon but that country's foreign office is warning of what it calls distressing news to come in the wake of the raid. cnn pentagon correspondent chris lawrence is working the story for us. chris, what's the latest you're hearing? >> well, as you mentioned, wolf, some mixed news tonight. the fact that some americans have been freed but others
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still remain unaccounted for. we're not going into any specific numbers, in order not to jeopardize the safety of any americans who may still be out there, but i can tell you, it has been very tough for u.s. officials to get good information on what's going on today. in fact, we've learned now that neither the u.s. nor british officials were even informed that the algerians were going in, until after that assault had already started. even as the algerians announced their operation to free the hostages had ended the u.s. scrambled to determine the fate of the americans held by the kidnappers. >> this incident will be resolved, we hope with a minimum loss of life. but when you deal with these relentless terrorists, life is not, in any way, precious to them. >> reporter: americans and other western workers were on a bus wednesday, when multiple militant fighters attacked. the militants took hostages a
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this gas plant. heavily armed with rocket-propel rocket-propelled grenade launchers. they also had suicide vests which they forced some hostages to wear. officials say what happened next was chaotic but the militants may have tried to move their hostages. >> translator: with the intention of leaving for neighboring country, they would use the hostages as a means of blackmail with a criminal intent. >> reporter: that launched the algerian forces into an assault on the militants. some hostages escaped, others were killed or wounded or unaccounted for. >> translator: there were a number of dead and injured. we don't have a final figure. >> reporter: but why did the algerians go in when they did? former homeland security adviser, fran townsend says the u.s. would typically try to use more electronic surveillance and map the area in detail before launching a military assault. >> the western way is to collect
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as much intelligence as you can, to engage in a potential negotiation, to see if you can peacefully resolve it, without putting the hostages at risk. >> reporter: but the algerians have fought a long, bloody battle with militants for years. >> they have very little patience for terrorists and kidnappers of this kind and are really going to want to nip it in the bud and kind of a show of strength, that this is not going to be tolerated. >> the thing is, the algerians for the most part have kind of sat on the sidelines when it comes to mali. a big question is, once this incident is over, does it make them stay on the sidelines or does it bring them more into the conflict helping the french, british, and now u.s. battling al qaeda there across the border in mali? wolf? >> obviously a fast-moving story. we'll check back with you, chris, for more details. chris lawrence is over at the pentagon. kate balduan is here. she's watching one of the sports stories, kate that everyone in the country seems to be talking
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about. >> everyone's talking about that, except for the football star himself manti te'o. absolutely, he is silent so far on this very, the only thing we can call it, is a bizarre mystery at this point, surrounding his alleged dead girlfriend a woman that we now know never existed. the school says he was the victim of an elaborate hoax. he calls it a sick joke. but many are wondering if there's more to this story. cnn's ted rowlands is in south bend indiana, home to notre dame. ted, what are you picking up there? it's hard to even sum up where this story has taken us. >> reporter: yeah. and the next step is manti te'o coming out and giving his side of the story. there was a lot of anticipation kate, that that would happen some time today, but so far, it hasn't. this twitter photo is manti te'o at the img academy in bradenton, florida, where he's training for the nfl draft, and likely also taking refuge. pressure continues to mount for
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te'o to explain the inconsistencies of the very public love story between his fake girlfriend and the statement claiming he'd never actually met her. during the football season the story of the star linebacker enduring the death of his girlfriend and grandmother on the same day transcended sports. people from around the world were touched by how in love te'o seemed to be with the girl he called his soul mate. >> i cried, i yelled. i never felt that way before. this is six hours ago, i just found out grandma passed away, and you take, you know, the love of my life. >> reporter: on the day of his girlfriend's supposed funeral, te' te'o played football and after the game the football coach actually awarded the game ball to the girl we now know doesn't exist. >> i want to award this game ball to lynnette. and i would like mantei to have this ball to take back to
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hawaii. >> well, i'm as confused as i think, a lot of people are right now. >> reporter: sports reporter eric hanson has spent the last four years writing about manti te'o for the south bend tribune. in october, he wrote this article, detailing the couple's first meeting after a football game against stanford. >> well i would think if there was a mistake in the story they would have brought it to my attention. >> reporter: the story has romantic details of te'o and his fictitious girlfriend catching each other's eye and making a connection. hanson says he got the story from te'o's father. he still has a recording of the interview. >> maybe mantei being an online relationship maybe was a little embarrassed and embellished the story to his father a little bit and his father was telling what mantei had told him. >> reporter: he allowed us to listen to the recording, but won't allow us to broadcast it. clearly, the father thinks his son met his girlfriend face to face in 2009 and spent considerable time with her, face
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to face after that. >> i want to give them the benefit of the doubt at this point. and i want to hear from them before i form the last picture on this. >> reporter: a lot of people would like to talk to manti te'o. at one point today, kate espn tweeted out that they were ready to sit down for an interview. a few hours later, they tweeted that the interview had been canceled. >> i know this is just sad all-around. i'm just not quite sure yet who it is sad for. i think we need some more information before we can decide all of that. ted rowlands in south bend for us. thanks so much, ted. much more on this story coming up. we're learning a little bit more about who may may be behind the hoax. and we'll dig deeper into the phenomenon of creating fake online personas known as catfishing. i still don't understand that name, though. >> we'll find out a lot more about that. >> thank you. other news we're following including a crisis for boeing. the entire fleet of its new 787 dreamliner has been grounded.
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worldwide, a series of incidents involving the planes' batteries have now raised very serious safety questions and prompting the faa to issue this very rare order. cnn's sandra endo has the latest. >> reporter: wolf, safety concerns surrounding the 787's batteries canceled dreamliner flights around the world and disrupted travel plans for thousands of passengers. and who knows how long boeing's plane of the future will remain out of the sky. grounded indefinitely. all 50 boeing dreamliners worldwide were parked on tarmacs thursday. this after the faa ordered u.s. 787s to stop flying until there's proof their lithium ion batteries are safe. >> in terms of historical context, though this doesn't happen that often? >> no it doesn't happen that often at all. the last one was about 34 years ago, with the d.c.-10 accident in chicago. >> reporter: it's a major black eye for boeing's marquee plane
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which debuted in 2011 after years of delay. the company is defending its aircraft saying that we are confident the 787 is safe and we stand behind its overall integrity. but two incidents involving the plane's batteries in ten days have left the faa with no choice but to ground the dreamliner, while the ntsb analyzes the charred evidence from last week's 787 fire. lithium batteries are smaller and more powerful, but can overheat. >> when they're used normally, and the energy is released slowly as it's supposed to batteries have a very good safety record. but if that same energy is released very rapidly, the battery cells will vent release their contents and have the potential both for fire and explosion. >> reporter: boeing needed special faa approval to allow the dreamliner to use lithium batteries for key electrical systems. >> they have narrowed it down to the battery system on this
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aircraft. we've had two events and so therefore, they're going to now be able to look at it a little bit more in detail and figure out what's going on. >> boeing's european archrival, airbus uses lithium batteries only for emergency lighting in their air-380. but airbus' plane of the future, the air-350 due out by the end of next year, relies on them more heavily. the company says there are no plans to change its electrical design. >> regarding the batteries, its architecture the safety. >> reporter: there are still 800 dreamliners on order, and it's unclear at this point if the safety concerns will affect the purchases. each aircraft costs $200 million. wolf? >> a lot of money involved. a nightmare for boeing right now. sandy endo reporting from reagan national airport. this story is going to be big. >> i know, it's so many airplanes. still ahead so, the
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question i asked before i'm going to ask it again. what is catfishing and is manti te'o's most high-profile victim. we'll talk to the man behind the acclaimed documentary and mtv reality show that puts a spotlight on these complex online hoaxes. ♪ ♪ let's go. ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪
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they'll get straightforward guidance and be able to focus on other things, like each other which isn't rocket science. it's just common sense. from td ameritrade. let's get a little bit more on the alleged hoax and the mystery surrounding the notre dame football star manti te'o. >> the university says he's the victim of an online phenomenon in which someone creates a fake social media profile. listen. >> i would refer all of you, if you're not already familiar with it with both the documentary called "catfish," the mtv show,
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which is a derivative of that documentary, and the sort of associated things you'll find online and otherwise about catfish or catfishing. >> all right. let's get some more right now with the executive producer of mtv's "catfish," ariel schulman is joining us. ariel, thanks very much for coming in. first of all explain to our viewers what catfishing is, what "catfish" is all about, how you got this name. >> i mean, it's amazing to me that it's becoming such a used term at this point. it didn't mean anything before the documentary. there's a character who uses it in reference to an old parable about cod fish being transported around the world in vats and going steal. and at some point, someone realized if they'd put catfish in the vat, the catfish would chase the cod around and keep them agile and moist and they would sort of taste better. so he was making a reference to people and how there are certain people like catfish. the title in the documentary,
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which was entitled "catfish," was that. and it's become basically synonymous with internet deception. it's someone that creates a fake profile. >> your brother was the subject, the victim in this documentary that you're talking about. and you document in your movie and now on your show, as victims, others that are victims on your mtv show. so how common have you found catfishing has become? it seems, honestly before this i had never heard of it. >> it's shockingly prevalent. when it happened to my brother, that was the first time i'd ever heard of it in terms of wholesale identity deception. i mean, she had created 15 different profiles he had fallen in love with one of them and had interactions with 14 others. all very deep and personal relationships. as soon as the movie came out, he started getting an influgsx of hundreds of e-mails a day, thousands after a year from other kids, from other people,
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around the world who had experienced the exact same thing. and that's when we started developing the tv show and casting it has been a lot easier than you'd think. i mean it's happening all over the place. >> i know your brother's been trying to investigate a little bit what happened in this particular case. he's been speaking to some of the players involved. what can you share with us? >> well, it turns out wolf that a couple of the players in the mantei situation had actually reached out to him through his catfish g-mail account a couple months ago and it sort of got buried and didn't realize it until now. but he's looking back and realizes a couple of the character that lennay -- the lennay character, it wasn't just mantei, she was catfishing a couple other guys but one of those guys had become suspicious and sought my brother's help in getting to the bottom of it. so he finally reached out to
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that guy and they started to sort of retrace her steps or whoever lennay really is and found a few other characters involved in the saga. >> in all of your research have you found that there is a certain type of person that's susceptible to becoming a victim of a scam like this? does manti te'o, from what you know of him, fit that type? >> you know it's funny, there is a certain type, and manti, based on what the athletic director from notre dame was saying about him, he kind of reminds me of my brother. yeah, he could date someone in real life. i mean this guy is a football superstar. my brother is, you know, a new york guy he's pretty good-looking, he could ask someone out. but he's so naive and sort of a hopeless romantic and an optimist that if the right girl attracts him, there's something sort of beautiful and innocent about it being online and not being face to face you can sort
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of be someone else, and sort of start from scratch. and it seems like this guy, manti, has a really big heart and was just sort of looking for love. >> and may have been naive, if you will if you believe his side of the story at least what he told officials at notre dame university. but i just want to, you know, elaborate, if you can. you say your brother's been corresponding now with at least one individual who may be -- may have been involved in this catfish operation? >> yeah i don't have the specifics. hopefully we'll get them from nev a little later. i hope yo uh g etu get to talk to him. there's a guy named j.r. who was, i guess, friends online with lennay, and he says that -- or one of his friends was lack looking to date her. and every time they tried to meet up, she would suddenly pull out at the last second which is a classic sort of catfish maneuver. there would be a car accident or an illness or something happened at home. and instead of her showing up, someone else kept showing up in
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her place and that someone else was the ranai character. i hope i'm pronouncing his name right. so he started growing suspicious that he could never meet lennay yet this other guy kept showing up. so he publicly tweeted, and you could probably find this on this guy r.j.'s feed, that he sort of made one of the early accusations that lennay was a fake, and instantly he was dealing with a whole, like suicide threat scandal. i mean it gets really complicated, and to try to describe this stuff is impossible, wolf. >> and it's very bizarre and intriguing because of the timeline that is coming out. and we're getting all these inconsistencies. for example, notre dame the athletic director said last night that te'o received a phone call on december 6th from the woman saying it was his girlfriend, that she was alive that it was a hoax. but two days later two days later, he said this and i'll play it.
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>> i really got, you know, hit with cancer. i mean, i don't like cancer at all. i lost both my grandparents and my girlfriend to cancer. >> he says he lost his grandparents and girlfriend to cancer. so what do you think about these allegations, these suggestions that te'o may have been involved in all of this, may have known a lot more than he apparently let on? >> um i understand, because it's so bizarre, and those are the same sort of accusations that we faced after the documentary came out. the world hadn't really seen a scandal like this. i mean, we've seen deception, we've seen huge business ceos faking law degrees, but we've never seen wholesale identity deception, on a public scale, until this. but we'd seen it with my brother. and a lot of people didn't believe it. but once you go into the timeline and you talk to the guy, whether it's manti or my brother, you emotionally understand that he was -- he wanted to believe. and when you want to fall in love when you want it to be real, you're willing to ignore
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so many red flags. and my heart kind of goes out to him. i'm on his side. i really think that he's innocent. and that he was deceived. >> ariel schulman is the executive producer of mtv's "catfish." ariel, we'll stay, obviously, in close touch with you. thank you. >> thanks so much. >> a pleasure. >> we will have more on this ahead. we'll hear from a writer from deadspin.com, which first broke this story. ♪ ♪ hi dad. many years from now when the subaru is theirs... hey. you missed a spot. ...i'll look back on this day and laugh. love. it's what makes a subaru, a subaru. she keeps you guessing. it's part
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day's other top stories. >> the hits just keep on coming, it appears. the international olympic committee is asking armstrong to return the bronze medal he won in the 2000 games in sydney, australia. it's the latest fallout from doping allegations, which cost him his seven tour de france titles. armstrong is expected to admit to using performance enhancing drugs in a two-part interview with oprah winfrey starting tonight. other news we're watching on wall street the s&p 500 closed at a five-year high today, while the dow came close but fell short at the end of the day. the gains were fueled by positive economic news. the labor department reports that first-time jobless claims dropped to a five-year low last week and the census bureau says construction of new homes surged 12% in january. you've got to see this. a firefighter in siberia had a close call today a real close call. watch this. he was climbing to reach people trapped by a fire on the fourth floor when a huge chunk of snow fell sending him tumbling.
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the good news, we're happy to tell you, he hung on. his fellow firemen rushed to help him. one of them continued to climb and rescued a child from the apartment window. that is scary, scary scary timing, but good that they're okay. >> very gad. new information emerging about an elaborate hoax that has sports journalists scratching their heads all across the country. the notre dame linebacker, manti te'o, says he was the victim of a sick joke involving a phantom girlfriend. just ahead, we're digging deep for details about the young man suspected of creating her. so now i can be in the scene. advair is clinically proven to help significantly improve lung function. unlike most copd medications advair contains both an anti-inflammatory and a long-acting bronchodilator working together to help improve your lung function all day. advair won't replace fast-acting inhalers for sudden symptoms and should not be used more than twice a day. people with copd taking advair
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more now on the hoax that notre dame football star mantei taio ensnared him.
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>> ensnared him. i don't want know how to pronounce it. we're digging deeper into the online persona that te'o says was his girlfriend and the young man who may have been behind it. get us up to speed because i'm lost. >> we'll do the best we can here. deadspin did name one man in particular who it says is behind this. that man is based in southern california. now, with our teams here in washington, in los angeles, and in atlanta, we did get some information on him but it is not clear at the moment if he actually knows manti te'o or not. it was a hoax made all the more believable by his hushed, mournful interviews, like the one he gave espn. >> i cried i yelled. i never felt that way before. this is six hours ago, i just found out that grandma passed away, and you take, you know the love of my life. last thing she said to me was "i love you." >> reporter: but manti te'o's
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supposed girlfriend lennay kekua, who reportedly died of leukemia, never existed. who perpetrated this hoax? deadspin.com points to a young man. cnn obtained a yearbook photo of him from 2008, when he was a senior in lancaster california. deadspin citing friends and relatives of his says he created the girlfriend and spread the myth online. >> they told us that he has been doing the lennay kekua fake online profile for several years. and that he's caught other people in its trap. but that they caught on way earlier than manti te'o did. >> cnn cannot confirm his involvement. we went to addresses, called numbers in southern california, listed for him, and could not reach him. we caught up with his father, titus, a former football player at usc, now a pastor at a place called the oasis christian
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church of the antelope. he's seen here on facebook. he wouldn't speak on camera, but told us the truth will all come out. god knows our character. his uncle, who gave us these pictures of him as a child tells us he's religious and playing in band at his father's church. >> it's hard for me because i know the kid all his life and this is the first time i've heard sympathetic lake that. >> reporter: deadspin says they know each other. notre dame's athletic director who hired investigators in this case, was asked if they're cousins or family friends? >> that characterization does not square with my information, but i'll let the te'o's address it. >> reporter: we could not reach manti te'o, his parents or his agent for comment. i spoke on the phone with marcus
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tuisopo, a quarterback for the oakland raiders and the jets. marcus says he's a distant cousin of ranai. marcus didn't want to tape an interview. he said he can't say anything about this story doesn't know ranai well, but marcus did say that he and his family know the te'o family. who's the woman depicted in social media photos as te'o's girlfriend. a woman says she realized her picture had been used for a fake facebook page for te'o's girlfriend. that woman says she knows ranai through church but is shocked to find out that he might be involved in this. >> there's a current football player who says he actually knows this nonexistent girlfriend? >> yes. he is currently a fullback for the arizona cardinals with an free agent now apparently. he told espn that lennay kekua is a real person, that he met her before she knew manti te'o, and that they became friends. we tried to reach reagan mawya
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ourselves, and he did not return our calls. >> this is obviously weird. very weird. >> it's beginning to defy logic a little bit. >> brian thanks very much. >> brian thank you so much. let's get more on al of this with john coblan, with deadspin magazine who first broke this story. thanks so much for coming in, john. first off, i would like to know what your reporting is and what you have learned about ranai and his connection to this story. >> what we have discovered is that, we are almost 100% certain that he is behind the twitter feed of the girlfriend, the girlfriend that we now know that is not real. we know this because of reporting that we just heard, something that we reported at deadspin.com, which is a high school classmate of the guy, the photo that was used was not of any girlfriend, was not of
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te'o's girlfriend, but it turns out that it was, in fact, somebody else who identified ranai as the person who wound up -- she wound up sending him a photo. so we know that for sure, that he is behind it. how well does he know te'o? we know that they've spoken on twitter together. we know that they also have, that the ranai's family also went to usc and they did meet in person. how well do they know each or beyond that, we don't know? >> so you're not saying they were close friends or had a long history. that's still unclear. >> a source told us that they are extremely close but beyond that and how well they knew each other, we can't confirm right now. >> so what's dead spin's reporting at this point on whether or not manti te'o was himself involved with making up this story making up this persona, making up this girlfriend? >> we believe that he certainly
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had a connection with ranai. and beyond that, there are a lot of red flags. i mean, the fact that, you know -- you know the fact that renai and te'o, they, a know each other, and b what wound up happening, is we have te'o who wound up -- te'o wound up, excuse me -- te'o wound up -- i'm sorry, could you repeat the question one more time. i'm sorry about that. >> i was just asking how much you think that te'o was involved in makinge inging up this girlfriend? >> yes, the fact that -- there is plenty of evidence. there is some evidence, insofar as the fact that te'o, first of all, they wind up they absolutely do know each other, and we also know that te'o
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has -- he has come out and called it a hoax so he wound up denying it, but beyond that not entirely sure. >> and we'll wait to hear a statement from manti te'o an actual statement, instead of a written statement, and we'll see where that takes us next. thanks very much, john for coming in. >> thank you so much. >> john coblan is with deadspin.com. we've got some breaking news about the americans taken hostage in algeria. cnn has now confirmed that a texas man was among those being held by the terrorists. let's bring in david mattingly. he's in houston right now. david, i understand you spoke to a relative of the man who was being held hostage? what are you finding out? >> reporter: that's right, wolf. not a lot we can tell you right now, but i did confirm from a family member that a texas man was among the americans taken hostage there in algeria. he says the family got that
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information early yesterday morning. and since then it's been a very painful, agonizing wait as very little information since has come in about his status and his safety. so right now just for an abundance of caution we're not reporting his name. we're not reporting what he does or actually who he works for just as a precaution because we just don't know what the status of him might be still over there. and right now, the family members are waiting as well. we've talked to the governor's office. they don't know anything here. we've talked to the fbi. they're not releasing any information. we've been in touch with bp multiple times today. they're referring all questions to their global office in london. but for right now we can confirm, through a family member, that a texas man is among those who were taken hostage. wolf? >> david mattingly is watching the story for us and we'll continue to stay in close touch with you. thank you. other nazi we're following, the history behind one of the
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bibles the president will use at his inauguration next week. >> so this is the actual bible that president obama used in 2009? >> that's correct. >> and the same bible -- >> that abraham lincoln walked up to and put his hand on to swear in in 1861. ♪ ♪ [ male announcer ] don't just reject convention. drown it out. introducing the all-new 2013 lexus ls f sport. an entirely new pursuit.
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with another dangerous cliff looming here in washington, the house republican leadership apparently talking to the rank and file about a short-term extension of the nation's debt ceiling. it might be brief, authorization the nation's borrowing authority for a couple of months at the republican retreat in williamsburg, virginia right now. the house budget committee chairman, paul ryan says it might offer a better chance of getting the democratic-controlled senate and white house involved in talks without a deal by march. drastic spending cuts could kick in and the government could face a possible shutdown. there seems to be kate a little movement on that. we'll see how far it goes. >> when they all get back. a key part of every u.s. president's swearing in is of course the bible that he has placed, that he places his hand on when placing the oath of office. cnn's lisa sylvester had a pretty rare look and was able to actually look and touch the bible. >> touched it yourself. >> i've got to say, this was a pretty cool assignment.
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>> it's very unique and a really neat part of the inauguration. >> this is something that i learned. the library of congress actually has 1,500 bibles in its collection. and one of those bibles will be used during president obama's second inauguration. the lincoln bible, which is steeped in history. so much history in the small box. >> i was thinking this big bible, but it's actually really tiny. >> i think the monoumenty of the moment has been confused with the size of the bible. it's a small family bible. >> reporter: the president who freed the slaves abraham lincoln, put his hand on this bible and swore to uphold the constitution. >> these are objects that seem to store the energy of a moment. and they're physical objects that have traveled through time and culture to us. >> reporter: mark dimunation is with the library of congress. >> there's in incredible moment
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when lincoln walks out on stage and as reports have it, the clouds part and he gives this magnificent inaugural address and uses this bible to swear in, in a moment in which the country is incredibly divided. >> a country so politically torn and on the verge of war that lincoln had to be essentially smuggled into washington ahead of inauguration because of assassination threats. lincoln didn't have his family bible with him, so he borrowed one from the clerk of the supreme court, william thomas carroll. a seal in the back of the bible attests that it was used in the lincoln inauguration. a man administering the oath of office was chief justice roger towny, who did not share lincoln's views on slavery. >> you can imagine that the tension was probably palpable between the two of them. tanny was the justice who cast the vote who pushed slavery forward for many years. >> but change did come. >> so help me god. >> congratulations, mr.
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president. >> reporter: america's first black president used the lincoln bible in 2009. president obama has again chosen the lincoln bible as one of those he will use to take the oath of office for his second inauguration. this is the actual bible that president obama used in 2009. >> that's correct. >> and the same bible -- >> that abraham lincoln walked up to and put his hand on to swear in in 1861. >> it's kind of neat, a sense of history, doesn't it? >> it has a kind of electricity to it. it really does carry the meaning of the moment. >> reporter: the moment repeated on monday, when president obama places his hand on this small bible that carries more than its weight of history. president obama will actually use three different bibles as part of the inauguration. on sunday for the official swearing in he will use the robinson family bible. on monday, for the public inauguration, he will use the lincoln bible, as we mentioned and the martin luther king jr.'s traveling bible. of course, monday marks plaurt ss
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martin luther king day. so the man who's responsible for freeing the slaves and the man who fought for civil rights for african-americans, their bibles are both being used by the country's first black president. a lot of symbolism. >> i love covering history. love this kind of stuff. >> when i was holding the bible that was the other piece. it's not just history of the past, but it's history of the future. this is the bible that will be used in the inauguration in a few coming days. >> did you put your hand on it? >> i did. i did. it's a moment. no other way to describe it. i was in awe. >> excellent work. thanks lisa. today is first lady michelle obama's 49th birthday. i'm sure she loves we're all talking about that. it's not clear what her and the president's plans are, but our brianna keilar had this exchange with white house press secretary, jay carney. >> and finally it's the first lady's birthday today, i believe. >> it is. >> can you tell us anything about how the president and the first family are celebrating her
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birthday? >> i don't want to ruin the surprise. >> anything that may have already happened? >> no, you know -- >> he's not waiting until the very end of the day to acknowledge -- >> you know, that's a personal thing. i don't have anything for that on you -- on that for you. >> we do know that mrs. obama launched a new twitter account today, @flotu. and wolf's favorite breaking news of the day, and she tweeted out a photo, revealing a new look, get this bangs, everybody! so the first lady celebrating her birthday with a new hairdo and of course happy birthday. >> very happy birthday to the flotus, the first lady of the united states, as opposed to the potus, the president of the united states. >> any more acronyms for us? >> no. but i like the bangs. >> me too. she was famous for decades of sage advice combined with pithy one-liners. we'll remember the mentor the advice columnist to millions, dear abby. stay with us. transitions® lenses automatically filter just the right amount of light.
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for millions of people over the decades, they read her advice column. today, word that the woman known as dear abby as died. i was among those millions reading her column every day. mary snow is joining us now with more details. what a columnist dear abby was, mary. >> yeah an amazing woman. the columnist died today at the age of 94 after a long battle with alzheimer's disease. she leaves behind a syndicated column that boasts a daily readership of more than 110 million. and it all started because she had too much time on her hands. her real name was pauline phillips, but she was best known as dear abby. as a 30-something housewife in california, she told the editor at the "san francisco chronicle" she was better than the advice columnist they had. she credits her flip saucy
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one-larnone- one-liners for getting the job. abigail van buren became her pen name. as her "dear abby" column grew she competed in the advice field with her identical twin sister ann landers. in 1990, she told cnn's larry king what it takes to be a good columnist. >> you have to feel for people. you have to want to help people. and i -- that is the best part of being dear abby. i love being able to help people, when somebody writes and says abby you changed my life, you did something for me that nobody else could do. >> reporter: she wrote about the angry letters she received from readers following her public acceptance of homosexuality at a time when there wasn't much tolerance. and there were times when she'd reach out personally to people who were troubled. phillips was known for her sometimes pithy responses like the time ted asked her, "what inspires you most to write." and she answered, "the bureau of
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internal revenues." kira phillips of cnn's sister station, hln, says money was far from the goal. she met pauline phillips who's not related, when she was in college, and the dear abby columnist became a mentor. >> this was not fake. this was not a shtick. it wasn't a, hmm, what can i do to make a lot of money. this was real. she went to school for journalism but she had no formal training. but she loved people, she loved helping those that were less fortunate than she was. she always had a heart for people. and that's what made her so great. >> pauline phillips was diagnosed with alzheimer's disease in 2002. that same year, her daughter, genie, took over the column full time. while she remembers her mother's legacy she says her mother's direct style is captured in a famous swedish toast, "fear less, hope more. eat less chew more. talk less, say more. hate less love more."
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she wrote a book called "the best of dear anbbeyabbeynbbyabby." i asked kira phillips, what was the best advice she got from dear abby, and she said that advice was to be yourself. >> great advice. mary thanks very much. i remember reading dear abby almost every day growing up. and like most people, i loved reading her column. here's an example of a letter she would get. "dear abby when you are being introduced, is it all right to say, i've heard a lot about you?" that's from rita. her answer, "dear rita it depends on what you've heard." >> that is perfect advice. erin burnett is at the top of the hour, as always. erin, what do you have coming up? >> i don't know, sometimes you like to hear, i've heard a lot about you, and have them wonder, whether it was -- >> that's right just let it linger out there. >> that's right. at the top of the hour, we'll be getting the very latest on the
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hostage situation in nighalgeria. it's been incredible covering this story. we are going to be joined by david mattingly, who's been chasing down the family of one of the american hostages. he's going to join us tonight. that family from texas. we're going to hear about that coming up at the top of the hour. back to you. >> a lot of news today. erin burnett, see you at top of the hour. still ahead, hall of fame hoaxes. thex. wlp
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the manti te'o hoax is already one for the record books. here's cnn's jeanne moos. >> reporter: 2013 is barely underway, and already we have our first big hoax. >> the weirdest story of the year. >> this reads like a bad lifetime movie. >> reporter: just be glad it isn't your life. within hours of the new manti te'o story broke te'oing was the new tebowing. that is proposing to an imaginary girlfriend. the media's preoccupation with the mantei taio story.
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two georgians claim they discovered the body of bigfoot and displayed it in a freezer, that turned out to be a costume stuffed with roadkill. remember "paul is dead." of course, paul mccartney is still dead, but that doesn't stop us from getting turned on by listening to revolution nine backwards and hear "turn me on dead man." taco bell announced it was buying the liberty bell and renaming it taco liberty bell. and talking about telling ging a whopper, there was the april fool's hoax involving the
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